Why up-cycling secondhand clothing is important

Secondhand clothing can be fun to find and purchase! And surprisingly enough, you don't have to spend big dollars to look like a 'Fashion Trendsetter.'

It has recently occurred to me, that I have found some extraordinary bargains for clothing at nearby secondhand stores.

Just because an article of clothing has been 'preowned' does not necessarily mean it is past its 'expiration date.' Upcycling preowned clothing can be such a wonderful thing. Not only can upcycling be helpful when trying to find your own distinctive and unique style, but it can also be extremely beneficial for the environment too!

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to two 'op shopping enthusiasts' about their passion for recycling preowned clothing.

Holly

20-year-old university student, Holly has been up-cycling preowned clothing for as long as they can remember.

"I've always been the person in my family who received a lot of hand me downs," Holly explains.

"It was always fun and inexpensive. And I got some really unique articles of clothing out of it."

As a young child, Holly even helped out at the opportunity shop that their grandmother volunteered at.

"So naturally as I got older, buying from second-hand stores just seemed like something I really enjoyed doing."

Holly strongly believes that upcycling secondhand clothing can be extremely beneficial for the environment. "I do know a little bit about the consequences of fast fashion." Admits Holly.

"So when I buy new clothes (first or secondhand) I try to make them last as long as they can."

Fast fashion is a common term that is used to mostly describe the extremely profitable and exploitative business that has been based on replicating some of the catwalk trends.

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Photograph credit: Holly

Fast fashion takes approximately 80 years to break down in landfills. And 1 in 6 people work in the garment industry worldwide, many of whom do not even have basic rights or protections. And many investigations have also shown that 80% of those workers are women. It should also be noted that only 2% of those workers earn a living wage.

"I don't like to be wasteful, so where I can I try to use items until the very end of their life or use to me.

"I highly encourage people to give life to secondhand clothes in order to prolong their use, otherwise perfectly good clothes would just be sitting around while more and more new clothes are made each day, which in short creates a massive environmental footprint."

Not only does upcycling help reduce waste created by fast fashion, but most of the items at opportunity stores are vastly inexpensive and more accessible than "first hand" clothing.

"In short, it's just a way better alternative than supporting fast fashion," Holly explains.

Retro Jam

Retro Jam is an Australian vintage clothing and accessory shop that is situated in Adelaide. The manager, Julie has been in retail since 1974.

"I sell vintage and retro clothing." She explains. "For both men and women. I also sell accessories too. And the business also operates with online orders too. Although, I did have the physical store for 18 years. And we have been 2 years at home base now."

Julie is a passionate and enthusiastic environmentalist. So for her, refurbishing vintage clothing and accessories is really such a joy.

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Photograph credit : Retro Jam on Facebook

"It's such a pleasure seeing all of the items of clothing come back to life!" she admits.

"I truly adore being a vintage clothing lover and retailer. And it has been my passion now for well over 20 years.

"To be a part of an industry that embraces recycling, repairing, reducing landfill is so important. Sustainable slow fashion is the best way to enjoy styling yourself and others. We all need to be a part of this movement, in my opinion."

Julie's absolute favourite piece of clothing that she owns is; a black fur caplet (1940), imported all the way from the United States of America.

"I love the quality." She declares. "I know it's controversial to wear fur, but I wear leather and I do eat meat too. I am mainly vegetarian though. So I think, a good balance is most ideal. Besides, it is already produced, so best to keep it circulating now, which it will."

The black fur caplet still has the original owners initials embroidered in the lining.

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Photograph credit: Retro Jam

Julie's second favourite piece of clothing is a very chic and adorable 1960s frock that happens to also be from the United States. She also adores the gorgeous 1960s cream handbag, which is timeless and extremely versatile. It is Italian too!

In the photograph, attached above there is also a tan leather belt. Which is from the seventies.

"I think I wear it 3 or 4 times a week!" Julie admits.

Also included among her most favourite vintage clothing and accessories is a glomesh purse. Which is just so utterly DEVINE!

Julie strongly believes that the benefits of upcycling are completely endless. It's so important to bring new life into items that are already here. And she also believes that the world is already full of everything we need, a million times over.

"We just have to learn to find them and love them." Says Julie.

So donate or buy some clothing today at your nearest Opportunity Store! Not only is it extremely beneficial for the environment but you can also find some truly incredible bargains at secondhand stores too.